Zimbabwe coach Lalchand Rajput hails team's win over Bangladesh
After splendid win, Zimbabwe coach Lalchand Rajput confident of historic series victory vs Bangladesh
It took 17 long years for Zimbabwe to register their first overseas Test win, as they beat Bangladesh by 151 runs in Sylhet, near Dhaka, yesterday. Debutant leg-spinner Brandon Mavuta (4-21) and Sikandar Raza (3-41) shared seven wickets between them to bundle out the hosts for 169 in their chase of 321 for victory at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium. The win has taken a long time coming, admits Zimbabwe's head coach and former India opening batsman Lalchand Rajput, who coached India when MS Dhoni & Co won the 2007 World T20 title in South Africa.
"The hard work that we put in during the 45-day camp [August-September] at Harare has paid off. The emphasis was mainly on strengthening our batting abilities. The front-foot defence without wearing pads, stepping out for drives and sweep shows were some of the areas of concentration for our batsmen. They worked really hard and that too on turning wickets. Now, the results are there for all to see," Rajput, who took over as coach six months ago from former Zimbabwe all-rounder Heath Streak, told mid-day over the phone from Sylhet yesterday.
Man of the match Sean Williams (88 and 20), captain Hamilton Masakadza (52 and 48) and Peter Moor (63 not out) paved the way for the visitors with the bat. Incidentally, 17 years ago, in 2001, the win had also come against Bangladesh in the Chittagong Test. Zimbabwe won their last home Test against Pakistan, at Harare, in 2013. The Africans are now keen to win the second and final Test (November 11-15) in Dhaka and clinch the series.
"Our boys are charged up now. They do not want to settle for a draw in the next match. They want to win it. The pressure is on the hosts since the next match is a must-win one for them to avoid a series loss at home," said Rajput, who was coach of another minnow outfit, Afghanistan, when they earned Test status in June last year. Rajput seems to be making international success a habit, and is clearly enjoying it. "It's always a great feeling when you can contribute to a team's first big achievement. And this win is big — beating Bangladesh in their own backyard is tough. I'm really pleased with how the boys have responded. This is definitely one of my great victories," Rajput concluded.
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